Media Effects What is the impact of the mass media? What effect do the media have on us?
Media roles • Agents of Democracy • Window on the world • Surveillance function • The way we experience much of reality • Allowing Participation • Facilitating Community • “Common collective consciousness”
Media Reality • “Being There” – Chance the Gardener, Chauncey Gardner • TV not real -- but it is realistic
Media as Teachers • Media Teach Us About Beauty What is beauty? Media teach us that it includes being thin and being young… What are other media-determined standards of beauty?
Impact? • Obsession with thinness • Dieting • Bulimia • What would you like to change about yourself?
Media as Teachers 2. Media Teach Us About Violence National Television Violence Study (1995) • 57% shows contain violence • Perpetrators unpunished 73% • Realistic consequences not portrayed • Kids’ shows: least on consequences • Violence presented as humorous
Media violence • High incidence • Popular concern • Congressional concern
George Gerbner on Violence 1. Violence livens a show, “travels” well 2. Accelerating levels of violence 3. Lessons about violence Some get away with it Some are victims 4. Violence = solution to problems
Media Effects • All Powerful Media Hypodermic Needle Model Magic Bullet Theory 2. Limited Effects Some people, some times, in some ways
Limited Effects Effects are limited by • Attention levels • Amount of exposure • Receptivity (aggressive cues theory, reinforcement theory)
Media Effects and Children • Receptivity a major issue • Heavy viewing by children • Lack of sophistication • Lack of experiences
Children and Media Use 1. Children who watch TV without parents Ages 2-7: 81% Ages 8-18: 95% 2. Percentage of children in homes where TV on during meals: 58% No rules about TV: 49%
Marketing to Children Federal Trade Commission Report, 2000 • Media market violent/mature content to children • Children have easy access to violent/mature content
FTC Study • Most R movies marketed toward Under 17 (80%) • 50% compliance rate with R rating • R movies on TV shows for kids • Use of kids in focus group • Similar patterns in music, video • Responses from movies, video
Types of Media Effects • Information-Imitation observational theory positive effects 2. Cultivation Hypothesis media cultivate beliefs which build up over time Mean World View (heavy v. light viewing)
Overall Media Effects 1. Some people, some times, some effect 2. Effect: how we see the world, how we define the world, issues
What can you do? • Encourage selective media use • Smart use of TV • Parents participate in kids’ viewing • Challenge TV’s power with alternatives • Media literacy in schools • Make your voice heard